NHS managers numbers rise to nearly 45,000

There have been sharp rises in the number of managers in the NHS in England who rose by nearly 12% last year, to almost 45,000.

During the same period, the number of qualified nurses increased by less than 2%.

The NHS in England now employs just over 1.6 million people – an increase of 4.6% on the previous year.

After a period of record growth, the Department of Health plans to make cuts of £4.35bn a year. It added managers were still a fraction of the workforce.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said the NHS had enjoyed record investment over the last decade.

NHS census
Staff numbers reached 1,432,000 in 2009 and over 1.6 million in January 2010
The number of consultants rose by 5.8%
The number of managers rose to 44,660 – an increase of 11.9%
The number of managers has risen 84% since 1999

But he said the NHS was entering a period of less growth, with the service “focused on improving quality and productivity to release efficiency savings that can be re-invested back into the service”.

A Department of Health spokesperson said that although there had been a large percentage rise in the number of managers, overall they made up just 3.5% of the NHS workforce.

It says these can be achieved through procurement, savings in its national IT programme, increased energy efficiency, and better use of property.

Reducing staff sick leave in the NHS could alone save £555m, it says.

Dr Keith Brent, of the British Medical Association, said: “Managers have an important role, but you have to question whether such a sharp increase makes sense when numbers of nurses and midwives – who are overstretched throughout the country – are rising far more slowly.”

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8587122.stm

PFI project costs exceed £200bn

The taxpayer’s commitment to pay for hospitals, schools, roads and other projects built under the private finance initiative has topped £200bn, documents published in the Budget showed – a total that would pay to run the National Health Service for two years.

The cash will be paid out over the next 25 years to cover the capital cost and services of the projects, with annual payments set to peak at just over £10bn a year in 2017.

The commitments, totalling £210bn, come as concerns are mounting that public services with big PFI projects may be at a disadvantage as the government seeks efficiency savings to help reduce the deficit.

PFI contracts usually include maintenance requirements that cannot be abandoned and must be paid for.

Although dangerous in the long term, the public sector tends to put off maintenance when expenditure is squeezed.

Treasury officials acknowledge that talks with PFI providers may be required to persuade them to offer more flexibility than the contracts stipulate.

The Budget report on UK infrastructure assumes the PFI will continue to provide finance for schools, hospitals and housing.

However, it warns that the massive demand for private capital to build energy, transport, waste and water projects – at £40bn to £50bn a year for the foreseeable future – means these “may compete for the same sources” of finance, at a time when the government plans to halve its own capital spending.

From: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/84618b94-383b-11df-8420-00144feabdc0.html

NHS statistics deliver blow to labour ministers

National Health Service productivity has fallen by 3 per cent, or 0.4 per cent a year on average, since 2001, latest official figures show. The biggest annual fall, 0.7 per cent, occurred in 2008, the most recent year for which the Office for National Statistics has figures.

The continued decline in productivity will be an embarrassment for health ministers, since it shows that the huge increase in the numbers of patients treated as NHS spending has doubled in real terms has been outpaced by the growth in the service’s workforce and the volume of goods and services bought by the NHS.

The ONS has adjusted its measurements of quality, putting a value on any increase in short-term survival rates, health gains following treatment, shorter waiting times and some measures of the performance of primary care – for example, improvements in blood pressure or cholesterol levels.

Without that adjustment, the productivity fall would have been even steeper – 7.8 per cent since 2001.

The figures make grim reading for the NHS. Health ministers concede the service, which faces a real-terms freeze in funding, will need to make efficiency savings and productivity gains worth between £15bn and £20bn over the next few years.

Mike O’Brien, the health minister, said Labour had inherited a severely under-staffed and underfunded NHS, and addressing that had affected productivity.

He said: “Most economists, and HM Treasury, accept it is difficult to grow capacity and productivity at the same time, yet the NHS maintained virtually flat productivity [a 0.3 per cent a year decline] over the longest period of sustained growth in its history.”

The figures come, however, with some qualifications. The ONS has improved its measures of quality over the years but there are still significant aspects of quality that the data fail to capture.

For example, longer consultations with a family doctor would show up as a productivity fall, even if they left patients more satisfied and produced better long-term clinical outcomes. The NHS has also hired more specialist cancer nurses, who have improved the quality of care but not extended life expectancy, producing a productivity drop.

The ONS said yesterday that the quality measures were “the best we have at the moment but measuring quality [in the NHS] is very difficult”. Furthermore, while the figures are for the UK, no data are available for the productivity of care in Scotland.

From: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/67f8afe0-37b0-11df-88c6-00144feabdc0.html

NHS watchdog NICE acting against government advice, says cancer group

Patients are being denied access to drugs for rarer cancers because the NHS treatment watchdog is acting contrary to the recommendations of a government inquiry, a report claims today.

Analysis by the Rarer Cancers Forum (RCF) suggests that the National Institute for Curbing Expenditure (NICE) is “failing to follow the spirit” of guidelines designed to improve access to end-of-life cancer treatments.

It claims that as many as 16,000 patients have been denied access to drugs because the watchdog had concluded unfairly that they did not meet the criteria for consideration, or they were deemed too expensive — without proper negotiation with pharmaceutical companies.

The report, Exceptional Progress?, looks at improvements to treatment access for people with rarer cancers following a review carried out by Sir Mike Richards, the Government’s national clinical director for cancer.

Sir Mike’s review was prompted by complaints from patients who were denied NHS care after having paid privately for treatment. The Government subsequently lifted the ban on so-called “top-up payments” and said that cancer drugs that were more expensive than NICE normally allowed, but which could offer patients a few more months of life, should be considered.

Andrew Wilson, chief executive of the RCF, said that although progress had been made in improving access to treatments since the publication of the review, there were still serious shortfalls which required urgent review.

“It is unacceptable that many thousands of patients are still missing out on the treatment they need, and which their doctors want to give them, because NICE has decided that their treatment does not meet some arbitrary criteria,” Mr Wilson said.

He added that NICE was failing to assess drugs quickly enough — taking 21 months to appraise new cancer drugs, rather than the six months promised by ministers by 2010.

Until the Richards review, NICE would not approve drugs that cost more than £30,000 to £40,000 for a year of good quality life. The ceiling has since been raised to £80,000.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said the watchdog had, in conjunction with the Department of Health, introduced “significant additional latitude in its appraisal of treatments, particularly where they are designed to extend life, at the end of life. NICE and the Department of Health are working together to assess ‘patient access schemes’ – proposals from companies for ways of managing the entry of expensive new treatments into the NHS by sharing some of the costs, and the Innovation Pass – a scheme to support a small number of promising new drugs with funding at a national level.”

From: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article7061769.ece

Swine Flu Info Symptoms

Swine Flu Symptoms- NHS news, advice Swine Flu Info Symptoms

Swine flu info symptoms by Health Direct– latest news, advice and information.

Swine flu- move to recover cost of vaccine
Fri, 22 Jan 2010- The government is attempting to claw back tens of millions of pounds from flu vaccine manufacturers as it seeks to scale down an immunisation plan to protect the country from a severe pandemic.

Swine flu chaos for children over vaccinations fiasco
Thu, 10 Dec 2009- Plans to vaccinate healthy children under the age of five against swine flu are in disarray after doctors refused to sign up to a deal.

Swine flu deaths in England reach highest level
Fri, 27 Nov 2009- Deaths from the swine flu pandemic in England rose to their highest peak yet last week, new figures have shown.

Swine flu- strain resistant to Tamiflu spreads between UK hospital patients
Mon, 23 Nov 2009- A strain of Tamiflu resistant swine flu has spread between patients in a hospital as five patients on a unit for people with severe underlying health conditions at the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, were diagnosed with swine flu that is resistant to the drug.

Sharp rise in England swine flu deaths
Fri, 20 Nov 2009- The latest weekly bulletin showed a sharp rise in patient deaths and the number of children being admitted to hospital.

Half term helps curb swine flu infections
Fri, 13 Nov 2009- Half term holidays may have temporarily eased the rise in the number of cases of swine flu, the government’s chief medical officer said yesterday.

NHS told to brace itself over swine flu epidemic
Tue, 27 Oct 2009- The NHS has been told to brace itself for action after a steep rise in swine flu infections.

Swine flu could lead to rise in MRSA
Thu, 22 Oct 2009- A second wave of swine flu hitting Britain could lead to a rise in MRSA infections, medics have warned.

National swine flu vaccinations to start this week
Mon, 19 Oct 2009- A national swine flu vaccination campaign will begin this week, with high risk patients and frontline health workers the first to receive a single dose jab, the Chief Medical Officer has announced.

Half of pregnant women will refuse swine flu vaccine
Mon 5 Oct 2009- Almost half of pregnant women say they would refuse to take the swine flu vaccine, suggesting many are worried about the safety of the jab, according to a new poll.

UK children receive swine flu jab
Wed, 30 Sep 2009- The first children in Britain to receive a vaccine against swine flu have begun to be immunised.

Swine flu- nanny state criticises naughty professionals who refuse vaccine putting patients at risk
Thu 10 Sep 2009- Doctors and nurses are potentially putting patients at risk if they refuse the swine flu vaccine, labour’s nanny state has warned.

It’s Monday, so it must be Swine Flu- Swine Flu rise points to Monday sickies
Mon, 7 Sep 2009- A weekly rise in cases of swine flu across the country on Mondays suggests that employees are using the pandemic as an excuse for throwing a Monday morning “sickie”.

WHO says that otherwise healthy people should not be given Tamiflu
Wed, 2 Sep 2009- Healthy people who catch swine flu should not be given antiviral drugs, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said, as most people will recover from symptoms within a week.

One in three nurses say they will not be immunised against swine flu, despite being offered the vaccine as a priority to protect patients.
Wed, 26 Aug 2009- Concerns about the swine flu vaccine’s safety and a perception that the infection is mild are among reasons that NHS staff gave for refusing to have the jab, a survey of nearly 1,500 staff found.

Swine flu shirkers cost firms more than virus, say employers
Mon 17 Aug 2009- Staff using the swine flu pandemic as an excuse to take time off work are causing more disruption to businesses than the virus itself, according to employers.

Swine flu- rise in UK deaths but overall numbers decline
Mon 10 Aug 2009- The number of deaths in England linked to swine flu jumped by nine to 36 over the past week, according to the Health Protection Agency.

Swine flu five times more virulent than normal
Wed 5 Aug 2009- Swine flu has been blamed for two more deaths– as the first full analysis of the virus shows it is five times more virulent than ordinary seasonal flu.

Tamiflu side effects linked to children reports find
Mon 3 Aug 2009- More than half of children taking Tamiflu to combat swine flu suffer side effects such as nausea, insomnia and nightmares, new research claims.

Labour Ministers unprepared for swine flu second wave Lords warn
31 Jul 2009- The labour Government appears to be unprepared for an expected second wave of swine flu in the autumn, according to a report by peers published this week.

Pregnant women up to four times more likely to become seriously ill with swine flu
30 Jul 2009- Pregnant women are up to four times more likely to be seriously ill and require hospitalisation when they have swine flu than the general population, new research from the United States suggests.

Swine flu could become resistant to Tamiflu because of over prescribing
29 Jul 2009- Swine flu could become resistant to Tamiflu, the only drug that can treat the virus, because it is being over prescribed, a leading doctor has warned.

Cutting doctors hours during swine flu outbreak is unnecessary risk labour Government is warned
28 Jul 2009- Cutting junior doctors hours during the swine flu outbreak will be “a sledgehammer that breaks the camel’s back” medics have warned.

Swine flu- labour ministers blamed for chaos
27 Jul 2009- The labour Government will be criticised over its handling of the swine flu crisis by a powerful parliamentary committee this week.

Swine flu helpline hit by problems
24 Jul 2009- The launch of the national pandemic flu service for England yesterday was marred by some early hiccups as the number of the country’s swine flu cases was estimated to have almost doubled in a week from 55,000 to 100,000.

Swine flu- travellers abroad face hostile reception
23 Jul 2009- Long viewed with suspicion for bringing drunken rowdiness to foreign cities, the British face a new reason for hostility as they head abroad for summer holidays: the risk that they bring swine flu with them from the country with one of the world’s highest infection rates.

Companies in swine flu fight over staff and profits
22 Jul 2009- Most businesses were trying to avoid being swept up in the panic this week. But with the number of cases doubling to 100,000, companies were testing business continuity plans to make sure they could cope with large numbers of sick workers.

Cherie Blair suffering from swine flu
21 Jul 2009- News that the former prime minister’s wife had become Britain’s most high profile victim of the virus came as figures emerged showing that the number of swine flu cases jumped by nearly 50 per cent in a week.

GPs criticise labour response to swine flu pandemic
20 Jul 2009- GPs have criticised the labour Government’s response to the flu pandemic, accusing it of providing conflicting advice to both doctors and patients.

Swine flu set to hit one in eight British workers
17 Jul 2009- Almost one in eight workers are likely to be forced to stay at home with swine flu, according to labour government figures.

Swine flu vaccine not ready for months says World Health Organisation
16 Jul 2009- The head of the World Health Organisation, Dr Margaret Chan, has cast doubt on the labour Government’s claims that a reliable swine flu vaccine will be available to the public by next month.

Swine flu virus has mutated in London, scientists warn
15 Jul 2009- London has already developed its own mutated strain of swine flu, scientists warned yesterday.

Swine flu death toll rises to 16 in Britain
Mon, 13 Jul 2009- A patient from London has died after contracting swine flu taking the number of swine flu related deaths in the UK to 16, it was announced today.

Swine flu cases in Britain could top 100,000 a day
Mon, 6 Jul 2009- The number of swine flu cases could reach more than 100,000 per day by the end of August, Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, told the Commons.

Second UK swine fever death as baby dies after pregnant mum
Tue, Jun 16, 2009- The partner of the first person in the UK to die of swine flu suffered a second loss last night when his premature son died in hospital.

WHO declares global swine flu pandemic and says virus is ‘unstoppable’
Mon, Jun 15, 2009- The world is officially in the grip of the first global flu pandemic for 40 years.

Swine flu vaccine supplies secured and costed
Thu, May 28, 2009- Fresh hope of protection against the H1N1 flu outbreak emerged when the labour government said it had signed a £450m agreement to reserve scarce manufacturing capacity for 90m doses of vaccine by the end of the year.

Swine flu- Labour Government signs up for 90 million doses of vaccine
Wed, May 27, 2009- Labour Ministers have signed agreements to secure up to 90 million doses of swine flu vaccine despite the fact that a pandemic has not yet been declared.

NHS swine flu absence may reach 85%
Tue, May 26, 2009- The NHS may struggle to cope if there is a flu pandemic because of the number of staff who will fail to turn up for work, a report suggests.

Swine flu- hospitals could turn away critical patients in a pandemic
Tue, May 5, 2009- Hospitals could be “rapidly overwhelmed” and forced to turn away critically ill patients if a flu pandemic reaches Britain, according to the Government’s own assessment.

H1N1 Virus molecular level explained, NA, A, PB2, PB1, PA, HA, N, NA, M, NS, origin, human, avian, polymerase, bird, pig

Health Direct NHS weekly review

NHS Health Direct weekly advice, news and information of National Health Service events and developments NHS weekly review

Weekend GPs opt out services kill patients- Feb 15 2010
Doctors warn on GPs finances- Feb 8 2010
Labour squanders £300 billion in PFI schemes- Feb 1 2010
Labour’s computer blunders tops £26 Billion- Jan 25 2010
Labour wastes taxpayers money on IT projects- Jan 18 2010
New Year- new labour spin with carparks hopes- Jan 11 2010
Health Direct NHS preview of 2010- Jan 4 2010

Weekend GPs opt out services kill patients- Feb 15 2010

Victims misdiagnosed by doctor paid £4m in compensation
Fri, 19 Feb 2010- The victims of a doctor who reduced children to “zombies” after misdiagnosing them have been paid more than £4m in compensation.

Dementia costing UK £23bn a year
Thu, 18 Feb 2010- Dementia costs the country £23 billion per year- more than cancer and heart disease combined but receives a fraction of the funding, according to a new “wake-up call” report.

NHS’s major trauma services- not good enough
Wed, 17 Feb 2010- England has an unacceptably poor service for dealing with major trauma, in spite of 20 years of reports identifying the problem, and a real terms doubling of NHS spending in the past decade, the National Audit Office found.

NHS spending squeeze to hurt PFI hospitals most
Tue, 16 Feb 2010- NHS hospitals built under the private finance initiative will face a much tougher time making the productivity and efficiency gains that are needed as public spending is squeezed, PFI experts and NHS managers are warning.

More patients die as lone GPs cover thousands in opt out services
Mon, 15 Feb 2010- Some parts of Britain are relying on just one out-of-hours GP at night to serve more than 240,000 residents

Doctors warn on GPs finances- Feb 8 2010

Call for social care reform as costs escalate
Fri, 12 Feb 2010- Radical reform of social care is needed both to contain costs and improve the quality of a system that is “fundamentally broken” say leading academics.

Free elderly care expansion promises spark row over affordability
Thu, 11 Feb 2010-
Plans to expand free home care for the elderly sparked furious exchanges at Prime Minister’s questions yesterday as a new report said “radical changes” were needed to maintain the care system in the face of increasing demands.

Whistleblower who criticised NHS cost cutting wins damages
Wed, 10 Feb 2010- A consultant urologist who was suspended after speaking out against cost cutting at an NHS hospital has won damages at an employment tribunal in a landmark case.

Doctors are addicted to every drug under the sun
Tue, 9 Feb 2010- Doctors are addicted to “every drug under the sun” the head of the first ever confidential GP service for health professionals has warned.

BMA cost warning on plan to scrap GP boundaries
Mon, 8 Feb 2010- The British Medical Association has fired a broadside at government plans to give patients a completely free choice of family doctor, warning that the proposals could cost “hundreds of millions of pounds a year”

Labour squanders £300 billion in PFI schemes- Feb 1 2010

Doctor Daniel Ubani unlawfully killed overdose patient
Fri, 5 Feb 2010- A coroner has demanded a review of EU agreements over the recognition of doctors when he ruled that the death of a 70-year-old patient who was administered a tenfold overdose by an “incompetent” German GP was unlawful killing.

Hospitals must cut services to stay afloat, watchdog quango warns
Thu, 4 Feb 2010- Hospitals will have to reduce services, sell off buildings and move into smaller premises to cope with financial pressures in the next few years, the head of the foundation trusts’ regulatory body has warned.

Tories to make GPs after hours care a priority
Wed, 3 Feb 2010- The Conservatives have pledged to make GPs responsible for round-the-clock care after the scandal of foreign locum doctors putting patients’ lives at risk.

Replacement for Professor David Nutt said cannabis should be legalised
Tue, 2 Feb 2010- A former Oxford academic chosen to replace sacked Professor David Nutt as the head of the government’s drugs advisory panel once called for the legalisation of cannabis.

How labour government squanders £300 billions with PFI schemes
Mon, 1 Feb 2010- On the face of it, PFI schemes does not sound like a good deal- decide what you want, find someone to supply it, then sign a contract that binds you into a legal straitjacket for decades, during which you pay them 37 times what the item is worth.

Labour’s computer blunders tops £26 Billion- Jan 25 2010

Obese patients encouraged to put on weight to qualify for surgery
Fri, 29 Jan 2010- Access to NHS weight loss operations is inconsistent, unethical and a postcode lottery, says Royal College of Surgeons

Fear over quality of care if NHS centralises further
Thu, 28 Jan 2010- There is a real risk that the next government will resort to central control of the NHS, reversing the gains of recent years and damaging patient care, warns the outgoing chairman of Monitor, the independent regulator of the self-governing NHS foundation trusts.

Patients in England and Wales denied arthritis drug available in Scotland by NICE
Wed, 27 Jan 2010- Patients in England and Wales are being denied a powerful new arthritis drug on the NHS despite a decision by Scottish health authorities to provide it to sufferers for free by NICE- the drug rationing quango.

NHS- renowned experts but no world class hospitals
Tue, 26 Jan 2010- Britain lacks any world- class hospitals because the culture of the National Health Service is still too much one of central direction and control, according to William Moyes.

Labour’s computer blunders cost £26bn- and rising
Mon, 25 Jan 2010- Labour ministers blamed for ‘stupendous incompetence’ after taxpayers are left with huge bills for bungled IT projects.

Labour wastes taxpayers money on IT projects- Jan 18 2010

Swine flu- move to recover cost of vaccine
Fri, 22 Jan 2010- The government is attempting to claw back tens of millions of pounds from flu vaccine manufacturers as it seeks to scale down an immunisation plan to protect the country from a severe pandemic.

Tax inspectors target health professionals such as doctors and dentists
Thu, 21 Jan 2010- Middle class professionals such as doctors and dentists are facing an unprecedented crackdown on tax evasion.

Two catch Legionnaire’s disease at hospital attacked over hygiene
Wed, 20 Jan 2010- Two patients have contracted Legionnaire’s disease at a hospital recently condemned for poor hygiene, blood splattered equipment and an unusually high death rate among patients.

Labour’s plans for elderly care put essential services at risk
Tue, 19 Jan 2010- Frontline services such as social work, meals on wheels and road maintenance may have to be cut to cover the cost of controversial plans for elderly care at home, local authority leaders have warned.

Labours’ only success- wasting taxpayers money
Mon, 18 Jan 2010- Health Direct is appalled at the expensive IT project that is the NPfIT white elephant- and the money that is being wasted in our names.

New Year- new labour spin with carparks hopes- Jan 11 2010

Decision on new health regulator quango delayed
Fri, 15 Jan 2010- Monitor, the foundation trust regulator, is to be left for months without a permanent chairman or chief executive after the Department of Health announced that it was to re-advertise the post of chairman.

NHS paid doctor £375 an hour
Thu, 14 Jan 2010- NHS spending on agency workers has risen sharply in the past financial year in spite of attempts to control such expenditure, according to figures issued by the Conservatives.

Fall in clinical trials of drugs through NICE
Wed, 13 Jan 2010- Investment by drugs companies and access by patients to innovative medicines in the UK are coming under threat, as data show a decline in the number of clinical trials conducted in this country.

GPs to get new IT in drive to prevent 10,000 cancer deaths
Tue, 12 Jan 2010- GPs are to start predicting whether a patient has the early symptoms of cancer using a computer program that calculates risk, under plans to prevent the 10,000 unnecessary deaths a year caused by late diagnosis

Labour delays free hospital car parking again
Mon, 11 Jan 2010- Andy Burnham has outlined more proposals to phase out hospital parking charges for in-patients and some out-patients which he says have caused “great resentment”

Health Direct NHS preview of 2010- Jan 4 2010

UK health groups look abroad to fight MRSA superbugs
Fri, 8 Jan 2010- UK companies developing products that fight MRSA hospital superbugs are complaining that there are few opportunities in their domestic markets, and focusing their sales efforts overseas.

Labour ministers to take control of hospital charity cash
Thu, 7 Jan 2010- Hundreds of millions of pounds of charity donations to hospitals are to be “nationalised” under an NHS accounting change, which critics say will make it easier to slash underfunded health budgets.

Drunk and overdosing homeless people put strain on NHS
Wed, 6 Jan 2010- One drunk or drug addicted homeless person is admitted to hospital every three hours, putting a severe strain on the National Health Service, new figures show.

David Cameron sets out policies to boost NHS
Tue, 5 Jan 2010- David Cameron has pledged to protect spending on the NHS as he set out twenty policies to boost Britain’s health services if the Conservatives win the forthcoming general election.

Health Direct NHS preview of 2010
Mon, 4 Jan 2010- Spending will dominate debates over the NHS and health – especially in an election year and the scale of NHS cuts will become apparent as the year progresses.

Health Direct Home

Labour plans to cuts hundreds of NHS hospital wards
Mon 15 2010- Plans that could lead to the closure of hundreds of hospital wards are being drawn up but will not be made public until after the general election, opposition parties have said.

NHS managers need disciplinary body, latest inquiry urges
Fri 12 Mar 2010- Senior NHS management should be turned into a profession, with an independent body created to discipline managers and board members, the latest inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust said.

Sexual health frankness is key to long relationship
Thu 11 Mar 2010- Young people think frank conversations about their sex lives signal that a relationship will last, says a nanny state survey.

Patients’ medical records go online without consent
Wed 10 Mar 2010- Patients’ confidential medical records are being placed on the controversial NHS database (NPfIT) without their knowledge, doctors’ leaders have warned.

Labour’s scramble to launch £11bn IT spending spree
Tue 9 Mar 2010- Labour was accused of rushing through huge contracts before the election to safeguard the party’s ‘nanny state pet projects’

Labour hid ugly truth about National Health Service (NHS) neglect
Mon 8 Mar 2010- Damning reports on the state of the National Health Service, suppressed by the labour government, reveal how patients’ needs have been neglected.

Inquiry into NHS preferred provider rule halted
Fri 3 Mar 2010- Primary care trusts across the east of England were ordered to suspend procurement for community services yesterday in a move that halted an independent investigation into the legality of Andy Burnham’s “preferred provider” policy for the NHS.

Government to clamp down on health tourists
Thu 4 Mar 2010- A new clampdown on “health tourism” by foreigners who visit Britain for NHS treatment was announced by ministers.

NHS Hospitals to feel the axe as Treasury cuts £11bn
Wed 3 Mar 2010- Alistair Darling will reveal details of how he plans to cut £11 billion from Whitehall spending in the pre election Budget.

Bliar ally says Tories are best for NHS
Tue, 2 Mar 2010- One of the architects of Labour’s NHS reforms is to become a key adviser to the Conservatives because the labour Government has “lost the plot” on improving patient care.

Failed Stafford NHS hospital bosses given pay rises while deaths crisis unfolded
Mon, 1 Mar 2010- Once again labour rewards failure as senior managers who oversaw one of the worst scandals in the history of the NHS at Stafford Hospital awarded themselves bumper pay increases at the same time as hundreds of patients were needlessly dying.

Stafford Hospital patients routinely neglected by cost cutting and targets
Fri, 26 Feb 2010- NHS Stafford Hospital patients were “routinely neglected” after management became preoccupied with cost-cutting and targets. Appalling standards of care put many patients at risk, and between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three year period from 2005 to 2008, the independent commission found.

Competition in NHS makes hospitals better, study says
Thu, 25 Feb 2010- Competition produces better managed hospitals which, in turn, produce better outcomes for patients, according to new research from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.

Warning over primary care trusts in commissioning health services
Wed, 24 Feb 2010- Primary care trusts, which commission services for patients from the public, private and voluntary sectors, are at risk of breaching NHS competition rules in a “significant” number of cases

Watchdog says failure by trusts to comply with alerts is unacceptable by risking patients’ lives
Tue, 23 Feb 2010- Hospitals were accused of putting patients’ lives at unnecessary risk after research revealed they were failing to comply with NHS orders designed to prevent deaths from mistakes involving drugs, surgery or equipment.

Hospital made profit on NHS drugs sold abroad
Mon, 22 Feb 2010- A Surrey hospital sold millions of pounds worth of NHS medicines abroad during the past year, despite official warnings calling for an end to such arbitrage for fear it could lead to shortages for British patients.

Health Direct Home

Labour plans to cuts hundreds of NHS hospital wards
Mon 15 2010- Plans that could lead to the closure of hundreds of hospital wards are being drawn up but will not be made public until after the general election, opposition parties have said.

NHS managers need disciplinary body, latest inquiry urges
Fri 12 Mar 2010- Senior NHS management should be turned into a profession, with an independent body created to discipline managers and board members, the latest inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust said.

Sexual health frankness is key to long relationship
Thu 11 Mar 2010- Young people think frank conversations about their sex lives signal that a relationship will last, says a nanny state survey.

Patients’ medical records go online without consent
Wed 10 Mar 2010- Patients’ confidential medical records are being placed on the controversial NHS database (NPfIT) without their knowledge, doctors’ leaders have warned.

Labour’s scramble to launch £11bn IT spending spree
Tue 9 Mar 2010- Labour was accused of rushing through huge contracts before the election to safeguard the party’s ‘nanny state pet projects’

Labour hid ugly truth about National Health Service (NHS) neglect
Mon 8 Mar 2010- Damning reports on the state of the National Health Service, suppressed by the labour government, reveal how patients’ needs have been neglected.

Inquiry into NHS preferred provider rule halted
Fri 3 Mar 2010- Primary care trusts across the east of England were ordered to suspend procurement for community services yesterday in a move that halted an independent investigation into the legality of Andy Burnham’s “preferred provider” policy for the NHS.

Government to clamp down on health tourists
Thu 4 Mar 2010- A new clampdown on “health tourism” by foreigners who visit Britain for NHS treatment was announced by ministers.

NHS Hospitals to feel the axe as Treasury cuts £11bn
Wed 3 Mar 2010- Alistair Darling will reveal details of how he plans to cut £11 billion from Whitehall spending in the pre election Budget.

Bliar ally says Tories are best for NHS
Tue, 2 Mar 2010- One of the architects of Labour’s NHS reforms is to become a key adviser to the Conservatives because the labour Government has “lost the plot” on improving patient care.

Failed Stafford NHS hospital bosses given pay rises while deaths crisis unfolded
Mon, 1 Mar 2010- Once again labour rewards failure as senior managers who oversaw one of the worst scandals in the history of the NHS at Stafford Hospital awarded themselves bumper pay increases at the same time as hundreds of patients were needlessly dying.

Stafford Hospital patients routinely neglected by cost cutting and targets
Fri, 26 Feb 2010- NHS Stafford Hospital patients were “routinely neglected” after management became preoccupied with cost-cutting and targets. Appalling standards of care put many patients at risk, and between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three year period from 2005 to 2008, the independent commission found.

Competition in NHS makes hospitals better, study says
Thu, 25 Feb 2010- Competition produces better managed hospitals which, in turn, produce better outcomes for patients, according to new research from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.

Warning over primary care trusts in commissioning health services
Wed, 24 Feb 2010- Primary care trusts, which commission services for patients from the public, private and voluntary sectors, are at risk of breaching NHS competition rules in a “significant” number of cases

Watchdog says failure by trusts to comply with alerts is unacceptable by risking patients’ lives
Tue, 23 Feb 2010- Hospitals were accused of putting patients’ lives at unnecessary risk after research revealed they were failing to comply with NHS orders designed to prevent deaths from mistakes involving drugs, surgery or equipment.

Hospital made profit on NHS drugs sold abroad
Mon, 22 Feb 2010- A Surrey hospital sold millions of pounds worth of NHS medicines abroad during the past year, despite official warnings calling for an end to such arbitrage for fear it could lead to shortages for British patients.

NHS target for A&E treatment risks patient safety

Doctors say a key NHS target – to treat people visiting accident and emergency units within four hours – is compromising care and patient safety.

The College of Emergency Medicine says the target, at English hospitals, puts staff under “incredible pressure”.

It says it supports having a target in principle, but that doctors sometimes need time to make the right decision.

The government says safety and good quality care should always take priority over targets.

The NHS target in England to deal with patients in A&E within four hours has been highly controversial. Critics say it forces clinical staff to put deadlines before quality of care.

The chairman of the College of Emergency Medicine, Dr John Heyworth, says the target has helped to make emergency care a priority for the NHS. But he says staff are being forced to meet it at almost any cost.

“We’ve had nurses reduced to tears. We’ve had very senior consultants in emergency medicine threatened with a disciplinary process.
 
Patient safety and good quality care should always take priority over administrative targets where a doctor believes that is necessary
Department of Health spokeswoman

“This is an outrageous misuse of the standard.

“It’s not what the clinicians are in the emergency departments for. But it’s representative of the immense pressure being put on chief executives and all managers downwards from there to comply with the target.”

The four-hour target is just one of a range of centrally imposed standards, most of them designed to speed up treatment.

They have been used in other parts of the UK but have been much more heavily enforced in England.

Politicians now dislike the language of centrally-imposed targets in the NHS.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats say they will scrap them. Labour now prefers to talk about “standards”, “entitlements” and “guarantees”. The issue promises to be an important dividing line in the general election.

Professor Julian Le Grand, who was senior policy adviser to Tony Blair between 2003 and 2005, says many patients did benefit from targets – but he recalls that the then-PM was troubled by complaints from doctors about the targets regime.
 
“I remember sitting in a meeting once where the prime minister said ‘do we have to just keep beating up on the consultants – in A&E for instance – endlessly to achieve this? Or is there some way we can think of building in incentives within the system so that we’ll get these quality improvements on their own, without always having to crack the whip?'”

That led to a shift towards encouraging more patient choice and competition between hospitals, rather than relying on targets to improve standards.

The trust’s director, Dr Jennifer Dixon, says they are a potent way of achieving quick results.

“I think there’s widespread consensus that targets have resulted in immediate benefits, for example in reduction in waiting times.

“It’s highly unlikely that those other reforms could have had that impact so quickly and so precisely on the waiting times. So it’s really ministerial “diktat” almost that’s produced the goods.”

The Department of Health said that, in England at the beginning of 2003, almost a quarter of patients spent more than four hours in Accident and Emergency. It argued that since then there has been a “revolution in patient care”, reducing that figure to less than 2%.

A spokeswoman said: “The funding for hospitals has risen dramatically and targets are minimum standards which taxpayers have a right to expect from NHS hospitals.

“Patient safety and good quality care should always take priority over administrative targets where a doctor believes that is necessary.

“Despite his concerns over the four-hour standard, Dr John Heyworth from the College of Emergency Medicine said he had nothing against targets in principle. But he said he wanted a more sophisticated measure that accounts for quality of care, as well as speed.

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8580761.stm

NHS staff lack faith in quality of care, own research finds

Many hundreds of thousands of patients are being treated in hospitals where at least 20 per cent of the staff have said they would not be happy with the standard of care if a friend or relative needed treatment, an NHS staff survey has found.

Yesterday’s figures were described as “deeply worrying” by John Appleby, chief economist at the King’s Fund health think-tank.

In the survey, between 300 and 400 staff at all NHS trusts were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement: “If a friend or relative needed treatment, I would be happy with the standard of care provided.”

Just under two-thirds of staff, including doctors, nurses and managers agreed, with a considerable proportion neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

But at 17 NHS trusts and foundation trusts, roughly one in 10 of the total, more than 20 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement. At three of them, Scarborough, West Hertfordshire and Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, where the NHS inspectorate has said a patient died unnecessarily , more than a quarter of staff disagreed.

“That means a large number of patients, potentially millions, are being treated in hospitals at which a significant proportion of staff would not be happy to see their friend or relative treated,” Prof Appleby said.

He added: “The boards of these hospitals should take that very seriously . . . And one of the things that these results should be used for is for the Care Quality Commission [the NHS inspectorate] to see whether results like this should trigger an investigation.”

At specialist hospitals such as the Royal Marsden in Surrey and London, Papworth in Cambridge and the Queen Victoria burns hospital, Sussex, no staff were unhappy for a friend or relative to be treated there and more than 90 per cent said they would be happy for that to happen.

By contrast, just 36 per cent of staff would be happy with the standard of care for a friend or relative at Scarborough, and 41 per cent at Mid-Staffordshire.

“That huge variation must be telling you something,” Prof Appleby said, “and this set of data should be examined much more thoroughly to see whether it is a predictor of hospitals that are going to fail or get in to serious trouble.”

A few low-scoring trusts, including Tameside in Lancashire and Sunderland, are flagship foundation trusts that are meant to be among the country’s best, but 18 to 20 per cent of staff would not be happy for a friend or relative to be treated in them.

From: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a82d8d5c-322d-11df-b4e2-00144feabdc0.html